Sunday, January 17, 2021
As society at home became more organized around corporate climbing, our lives became an endless, round-the-clock effort to “excite admiration or envy,” where everything from “assertiveness therapy” to jogging to est helped the individual be better armed in the struggle for personal advancement.
This, apparently, is what Christopher Lasch saw when he looked at Americans grooving to Saturday Night Fever. These were not groups of people letting loose and having fun. They were lonely people grinding away the anxiety of life in a market-based society stripped of all ameliorative restraints, where “pleasure becomes life’s only business” in a dystopian “war of all against all.” In such a society, a narcissistic orientation isn’t deviance or illness, but a crucial adaptive strategy, with the unfortunate side-effect mentioned above: a growing inability to see the words fuck and fuck over as having different meanings.